The Indian home ministry warned of a bigger catastrophe, earthquakes with a magnitude of 8.2 or greater on the Richter scale which may hit the already ruptured Himalayan region. They say quakes with higher intensity than the one that struck Manipur on Monday are likely to rock the region in future.
The tectonic shift a series of these recent earthquakes have caused in the region -- Manipur 6.7 (Jan 2016), Nepal 7.3 (May 2015) and Sikkim 6.9 (2011) -- have re-ruptured the plates that had already developed cracks during previous temblors. This has led to conditions which might trigger multiple earthquakes which may go up to 8.0 in magnitude.
In a post-Nepal disaster assessment, the MHA's National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) has warned of enhanced risk around the "ring of fire garlanding the entire north India especially the mountains". This was also highlighted at a recent meeting organised by the Centre in Arunachal Pradesh's capital Itanagar where policy-makers from 11 hill states had participated and resolved to develop a common building code for mountains.
Speaking to TOI, NIDM director Santosh Kumar said the interconnected plates across Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and India pose a bigger danger, and predicted a disaster of bigger magnitude that awaits hill states and parts of Bihar, UP and even Delhi which fall under the second worst seismic Zone IV classification. The North-East and other hill states fall under severe seismic Zone V.
The UN office for disaster risk reduction (UNISDR), which considers India a valuable partner and had even acknowledged the leadership of minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju and made him a disaster risk reduction champion for Asia two months ago, has emphasised India's need for compliance with building codes and the necessity for an "enhanced preparedness for effective response to earthquakes," according to AP. -Mithun